Middle-class material culture


This is Part 1 of a series of videos that we watched for our Tiny House class. The video describes an ethno-archeological study published in 2012 of 32 dual-income households. Every object in every part of the house was documented. If the statistics weren’t surprising enough, the photos of the families’ homes were astounding.

According to the study, we are “spending more on children’s material culture than in the history of humanity.” While the U.S. is home to 3.1% of the earth’s children, U.S. children own 40% of the world’s toys. The video made me think critically about my own upbringing and how I want to raise my future children.

U.S. households have more possessions per household than any society in history. This American culture of hyper consumerism is one of the drivers of the minimalist counter-culture that the Tiny House movement embodies. While some people might imagine that a tiny house lifestyle requires “giving up” a lot, in reality it’s about making time and physical space for the things that are more meaningful. It’s a revolutionary approach where conscious decisions about what you own lead to a way of living that more sincerely honors and reflects your values.